Wildfire smoke fills the sky Aug. 15 while temperatures remain in the high 80s to low 90s. Photo by Sarah Brenden.

Wildfire smoke fills the sky Aug. 15 while temperatures remain in the high 80s to low 90s. Photo by Sarah Brenden.

Air quality alert for Puget Sound region due to wildfire smoke

Poor air quality is expected through Wednesday, Aug. 22.

  • Monday, August 20, 2018 1:24pm
  • Life

The following an air quality alert for Aug. 19, 2018, from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the local health jurisdictions of King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The alert has also been updated to include new information:

Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.

Update: Air quality levels are going up more quickly than expected in the Puget Sound Region and we are reaching levels UNHEALTHY for everyone in some areas. We recommend everyone stay indoors when possible.

Wildfire smoke is building across the Puget Sound Region.

With winds pushing smoke from British Columbia and the fires in the Cascades in our direction, we expect poor air quality to continue through Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Current air quality levels in Darrington are UNHEALTHY for everyone. We could see levels become UNHEALTHY in other parts of our region over the next few days. Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website for the most recent conditions.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Stinging eyes
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Asthma attack
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat

Everyone should take precautions, especially children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD) or that have had a stroke.

  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor and sports.
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.
  • Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
  • Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
  • N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
  • For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

To learn more about wildfire smoke, and to subscribe to updates, visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.

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